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Released on October 23, 2012. Core i5 or Core i7 Processor. Apple Fusion Drive.

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Recommendations needed for SSD to relace HDD

I have been called upon to replace a bad 500 GB hard drive in a late 2012 Mac mini. I want to use an SSD as a drop-in replacement, pin-for-pin. I have looked around and saw in the computer shops near my office 4 possible candidates to use:

1. Sandisk Ultra II 240 GB (550 MB/sec read)

2. Western Digital Green (545 MB/sec)

3. Samsung 860 EVO (6GB/sec)

4. Kingston 240 GB UV500 (6GB/sec).

Which would be my best bet for hardware compatibility?

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All of the 2012 MacMini’s have a SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) interface for the 2.5” drive. So any SATA III drive will work.

Your list is a bit off as you’ll called out the transfer rates on some and the interface on the others. In addition you’ve listed different sized drives. So there is no direct correlation between them (at least one thing being consistent).

Also keep in mind Western Digital & SanDisk are merged companies, so the drives are one and the same with the current versions of the drive with slight generational differences.

So your list corrected looks like this for 240/250 GB SATA III drives:

There is not issue replacing the current HDD for a SSD. I personally use Samsung EVO drives in all of my systems and thats what I sell when I swap out or upgrade the HDD for a customer (what I stock). Yes, there are cheaper drives which will also work.

There are issues in some models in regard to the optical bay if you plan to install a drive within it. Similar to the MacBook Pro’s, Apple had an issue with the optical drive SATA port due to the clocking of the port. You can see more here in this OWC guide: OWC Data Doubler. While the listing does not directly call out the Mac Mini’s the issue is the same when you compare the CPU’s clocking and the same PCH hardware between the Mac Mini’s & MacBook Pro’s. To be clear this is not an adapter issue this is a timing issue within the Mac’s logic board. As OWC points out you’d need a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive to overcome this failing.

I should also point out there are two kinds of SATA interfaces Fixed & Auto The fixed drive can only run at the one speed whereas the Auto can run at different SATA I/O speeds matching to the systems SATA port.

Here the optical bay will require a fixed SATA II drive even though the port will claim to be SATA III in the system report.

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Thanks for the kind response, Dan. Looks like the Samsung 860 EVO is the best choice, the Sandisk Ultra II second. I plan to totally replace the main hard drive with an SSD . The tip on using the optical bay to install an SSD is going to be useful information for ifixit users who may want to avoid timing issues. Fortunately there is no optical bay/drive on my Mac Mini model to complicate the planned swap .

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